Kyoto Tezuka Osamu Museum

April 17, 2009

by Wakako Kurimoto; Shiori Kadowaki

Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World

 

Perhaps you have heard of Osamu Tezuka. He is a one of Japan’s greatest manga artists. It is even said that he is the father of contemporary Japanese manga. His most famous characters are Astro Boy and Black Jack. He left many works.

In Kyoto, there is a place where you can experience the world of Osamu Tezuka. Since it is located in Kyoto Station, you can visit it easily. A museum, Tezuka Osamu World, consists of a souvenir shop and a small theater. In the souvenir shop are items that are sold only in Kyoto.

Waiting for you there, are not only characters created by Osamu Tezuka, but also characters created by another Japanese famous cartoonist, Shigeru Mizuki. For the 80th anniversary of Osamu Tezuka’s birth and the 60th anniversary of Mizuki Shigeru’s first manga, some of their characters are being sold together in sets. Shigeru Mizuki is famous for creating Gegege-no-Kitaro, a favorite Japanese ghost cartoon character, and researching about and then bringing to life many Japanese ghosts.

Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World is filled with dreams.

Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka was born in Osaka on November 3rd, 1928. He was an imaginative boy and liked insects very much. We can find out how much he liked insects by looking at his pen name, 治虫“Osam.” (The word, 虫 mushi, means “insect.”)

He grew up in the war era, so he came to have great reverence for life. Therefore, he once aimed to be a doctor, but then chose to become a comic artist instead.

After becoming a comic artist, he created many comics and they influenced Japanese culture: literature, film, and of course, his readers. He introduced countless comics, and all of them tell us about his eternal theme: the preciousness of life. Osamu passed away in 1989. However, his comics continue to communicate his message to us even now.

Osamu’s comics

Black Jack

This story is a medical drama in which Black Jack, an unlicensed doctor, helps cure many severely ill patients with miracle methods. Although other doctors give up trying to cure patients because of the difficulty of treatment, Black Jack never gives up and saves many lives. He has wonderful technique, but the medical community doesn’t accept him because he demands a large amount of cash for his medical expenses. However, many patients come to him with their last wish.

Osamu once aimed to become a doctor, so he identifies with this story. Black Jack is Osamu’s ideal doctor.

Astro Boy

The setting for this comic is in the 21st century. Astro Boy, a boy robot, plays the central role in this cartoon. Dr. Temba makes a robot that is similar to his dead son. It is “Astro Boy.” Dr. Temba came to love Astro Boy as his real son. However, the robot never grows up, so the Doctor loses his passion for Astro Boy and gives him a job at a circus.

After he abandons Astro Boy, Dr. Ochanomizu, a new administrator, tries to get “human rights” for robots. Astro Boy can live with him and his robot family, and receive love again. He also has love, sentiments and a strong sense of justice. If any incidents happen, he will surely stand up to enemies.

Information

Shop hours: 10am to 7pm
You can visit souvenir shop for free.
Open all year.
They may sometimes close the theater for maintenance.

Tel: 075-341-2376

Theater / small library

You can watch original short films here. These films are only shown in this theater. “Hinotori,” one of Osamu Tezuka’s characters, guides you. You can also see many other characters.

Fee: adults 200 yen / children (from 6 to 11 years old) 100 yen including tax.
Show times: the films are shown at 5 past and 35 past every hour.
The last film is shown at 6:35
If you want to get more information, please access:
http://www.kyoto-station-building.co.jp/kyototezuka/index.html

Interview with Museum Manager

We interviewed Mr. Tanaka, the manager of Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World about Mr. Tezuka Osamu and the facility.

Shiori Kadowaki and Wakako Kurimoto:

Please tell us about your visitors. We suppose that most are from Japan, but are there foreign visitors? If yes, where are they from? And we also want to know what kinds of visitors come here, how old they are, and so on.

Mr. Tanaka:

Because Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World is located in Kyoto, the type of our visitor changes depending on season. Our visitors from Europe or the United States come in all seasons, but I feel that more Asian visitors have come to Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World than visitors from Europe and United States this year. I think it is because personal travel is much easier than before. There were times when all of our visitors in the shop were from Asia. Accordingly, throughout the year, 50% of our visitors are from Japan and 50% are from foreign countries.

SK & WK:

Please tell us the reason why Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World was built in Kyoto. Is Kyoto a special place for Osamu Tezuka?

Mr. Tanaka:

First of all, I heard that Tezuka loved Kyoto so much. It is not too much to say that when foreign visitors came to him, he always introduced Kyoto to them. Mr. Tezuka left many works related to Kyoto, such as Shinsen-gumi, which was located in the ancient Kyoto capital of Heiankyo.

SK & WK:

Please tell us what is most attractive about Osamu Tezuka. We suppose that most Japanese people know him, but foreigners might not know him. In fact, we know about his cartoons, but we don’t know about him, so we want to know much his attractive points.

Mr. Tanaka:

This question is a little hard. Since I’m not familiar with his personal life so much, I will answer in short.

・Mr. Tezuka has a doctor’s license.
・His birthday is November 3rd.
・He passed away on February 9th, because of stomach cancer.
・He was able to draw an exact circle by hand.

I’m not sure about the following information:
・When he wrote manga, he was often ate onigiri (rice ball), and he especially loved cod roe, because it was easy to eat.
・Women weren’t allowed into his studio.
・The model for Black Jack was his then manager, currently president of Tezuka production. I have met him before, he was similar to Black Jack.
・When he draws manga, he was imagining the logical development of story, not thinking of sketches, so sometimes he started drawing manga in the middle of a story.
・He habitually used a hyotan (gourd) moneybox, which are now sold as souvenirs in Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World.

If you want to know more, please look at this Web site.
http://tezukaosamu.net/jp/about/index.html

& WK:

Please tell us your favorite Tezuka cartoon. We only know Astro Boy, Black Jack, and The Phoenix, the cartoons that we can watch on TV, so we would like to know your recommendation for cartoons that are filled with Tezuka’s special feelings.

Mr. Tanaka:

I’m sorry that I don’t know his manga so well. Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World opened 10 years ago, but at that time, I didn’t know the meaning of “BJ (Black Jack)”. Besides, I have never read Tezuka. Then I read Metropolis. I finished reading it after I started just the first two pages. However, I often watched TV: “My Songoku (I didn’t know it was a Tezuka manga),” “Jangle-Taitei,” “Astro Boy (of course I watched it on color TV, not on a black-and-white set),” “Phoenix,” “Ribbon-no-kisi,” “Black Jack,” and “The New Astro Boy.”
I recommend “Grandmother” and “Rokutousei” from the Black Jack series. You can see “Grandmother” at Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World theater. When your work or study reaches a deadlock, please read “Rokutousei.” It is a wonderful work. According to the head of Kyoto Tezuka Osamu World,“Buddha” is also great.

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